Who shall be greatest?

A Christian Science perspective: So much good can be accomplished when we recognize our true brotherhood and imbibe the spirit of divine Truth and Love.

Across the globe, stagnation and even crises in government are all too common refrains because of an ever widening divide between opposing political groups or individuals. In Zimbabwe, Kenya, and elsewhere, we see a struggle to answer the age-old question “Who shall be greatest?” But it’s also become clear that posing this question doesn’t lead to answers or progress.

There was a time during Christ Jesus’ ministry when he explained this point to his 12 closest disciples, who were arguing over who would be the greatest. Jesus said: “Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course. But not here! For I am among you as one who serves” (Luke 22:27, New Living Translation). With his words and his actions, Jesus reminds them that only through humility and self-sacrifice can one effectively lead the people and serve as a model of behavior for others to emulate. For instance, in the spiritual laws that he laid down in the Beatitudes he promises that “God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth” (Matthew 5:5, NLT). His example and the divine laws of love that he gave us continue to be effective and powerful agents for change 2,000 years later: Love and humility strengthen leadership and truly prove our worth.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, explained in 1902 that “competition in commerce, deceit in councils, dishonor in nations, dishonesty in trusts, begin with ‘Who shall be greatest?’ ” Speaking of God as divine Love, she said, “To live and let live, without clamor for distinction or recognition; to wait on divine Love; to write truth first on the tablet of one’s own heart, – this is the sanity and perfection of living, and my human ideal” (“Message to The Mother Church for 1902,” pp. 4 and 2).

From the inspiration of Christ Jesus’ teachings, she taught that it is natural for each of us – and for our leaders in government – to be led by divine Truth and Love, which are synonyms for God. In the book about her discovery of Christian Science she wrote that in fact every one of us is “conceived and born of Truth and Love” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 463), so we inherently express the spiritual qualities that come from God in being truthful and loving.

When we see that we share this common heritage as God’s children, it becomes more natural for us to work together in harmony. No single individual or ideology shall be greatest, but God, divine Principle – which is above all, governing all. Ruled by the inspiration that comes from divine Truth and Love, we are guided by God in times of crisis. And being led by God to be honest and loving in this way makes for truly inspirational leadership.

Humble leadership and a spirit of brotherly partnership can turn around even the most difficult challenges. But the spirit of brotherhood begins with each of us. Rather than seek individual distinction or assert one’s own agenda, let each of us strive to see that, as Mrs. Eddy writes on page 3 of her 1902 address to The Mother Church, “right is the only real potency; and the only true ambition is to serve God and to help the race.” So much good can be accomplished when we recognize our true brotherhood and imbibe the spirit of Truth and Love.

Adapted from a Christian Science Perspective article published May 20, 2016.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.